Leg Length Discrepancy

What is a Leg Length Discrepancy?

Leg Length DiscrepancyHave you got one leg longer than the other? Most people do, but the differences are so minute it doesn’t affect their gait. If you have a significant difference (over 0.5cm) then, this can lead to other knock on gait problems such as lower back pain, and foot problems such as calluses and bunions.

What Causes Leg Length Discrepancy?

  • Genetics – you may have been born with poor pelvic alignment, which would cause the bones in your legs to grow at different rates. Leg length discrepancy is one of the conditions we check for when carrying out a bio-mechanical assessment, as this can be the underlying cause of all of your foot and ankle problems, and treating the secondary symptoms will not prevent them recurring.
  • Injury – trauma to the hip or pelvis when you are young may affect the bone growth on one side.
  • Muscular injury – tense muscles or muscle cramps may make it feel like you have one leg longer than the other.

Treatments

  • Mobilisation and Manipulation – muscle massage can “unlock” your tight muscles and allow you to stretch your legs properly. This will ease temporary leg length discrepancies, but bone mal-alignment is permanent and requires a more permanent solution.
  • Orthitics – building up the shorter leg with carefully measured insoles or inserts may be enough to correct the problem.
  • Surgery – sometimes surgery may be necessary to shorten or lengthen the bone in one leg. Surgery is usually performed on the femur (thigh bone) because your femur is longer than your shin bones and there is only one upper leg bone rather than the two you have in your lower leg.